By Lucy Ziesemer
When you’re born into something, do you remember ever undertaking the process of learning the ropes? Or did you just grow legs, bounce up on the bike and take the lead? I have been handling cattle since I could hold a yard stick. I’m sure I bore the brunt of a few four-legged skeptical sideways glances at my very obvious insignificance as a five-year-old stock person. Granted, I was probably more effective then than I am now, with the childhood gift of fearless, guns blazing gusto.
I’ve said it before, but as a small child I yearned for knowledge about the world I was nothing but a mere blip in. All children do. Show them a spaceship and they ask- how? Tell them rain makes corn and corn makes whiskey and they ask- why? Show them cattle grazing in a paddock or sheep in for shearing and I bet they’d ask who, what, when, where, why and how- all deeply important questions we agriculturalists love to dive into.
My question is, why isn’t agriculture a compulsory subject in the Australian curriculum? Agriculture is a wholesome sensory experience- it is tactile, visual 👀 , auditory 👂🏼 , olfactory 👃 and gustatory 🍽. It involves mathematics and communication, and general common sense. The latter, I believe, could be a subject of its own!
Agriculture is an untapped realm for higher learning with so many teachable moments waiting to be explored. Maybe its graduating students would not go on to pursue a career in ag, but maybe they would. At the very least, they would leave with a much more rounded, balanced understanding of the world beyond the school gates. Let’s not ponder why today’s youth are out of tune with primary production. Instead, give them opportunities to foster grass roots connections with the bush and watch as East meets West like never before.